Presentation on theme: "Alas Babylon Ch. 5 Read Along PPT. Randy awakens to shaking Thinks it’s an earthquake, but in Florida? Thinks he hears thunder, but in winter? Sees “to."— Presentation transcript:
Alas Babylon Ch. 5 Read Along PPT
Randy awakens to shaking Thinks it’s an earthquake, but in Florida? Thinks he hears thunder, but in winter? Sees “to his left, in the east, an orange glow heralded by the sun” (91) and “in the south a similar glow faded” ; imagines it was a sun rising and setting but knows that’s not possible Was actually two nuclear explosions (from warheads of missiles lobbed by submarines)
The nuclear exposions One hit the SAC base at Homestead Second one hit Miami International Airport He knows he has just witnessed “the incineration of a million people…”(92) Helen’s response: “so soon?” “It was so quiet. It was wrongly quiet” (93) A third explosion (“another unnatural sun was born”)- they feel heat and Peyton’s screams from the flash ◦This went off in the direction of Tampa ◦This time they saw the mushroom cloud
Explosions cont… Peyton can’t see (blinded from the flash) Fourth blast- hits MacDill (randy figures where using his “flash- and-sound” count) Randy goes to get Dr. Gunn for Peyton Passes a dead woman on the side of the road- thinks to himself not to stop but does anyway and confirms she’s dead ◦Yesterday he said he would have stopped, but today there were “new laws and rules” of survival ◦“today, a man saved himself and his family and to hell with everyone else” (98) ◦“with the use of the H-bomb, the Christian era was dead, and with it must die the tradition of the Good Samaritan”
Randy turns on radio “Civil Defense broadcast” ◦Red Alert declared ◦Believe that country is under attack ◦Avoid using the phone ◦Obey the orders of your local Civil Defense Director CONELRAD (Control of Electromagnetic Radiation) was a method of emergency broadcasting to the public of the United States in the event of enemy attack during the Cold War. It was intended to allow continuous broadcast of civil defense information to the public using radio or TV stations, while rapidly switching the transmitter stations to make the broadcasts unsuitable for Soviet bombers that might attempt to home in on the signals.
Chaos Traffic People lining up at gas stations Arrives at Riverside Inn (where Dr. Gunn lived and worked) ◦All of the guests milling around confused and complaining about no TV, messed up schedules, etc… Finds Dr. Gunn- everyone having heart attacks in the hotel so he’s busy ◦Dan’s reaction to the bombs is ANGER (see his reaction pg. 104)
On the radio Sea and air battle off the coast of Jacksonville Governor had issued a “pronouncement from Tallahassee- all target cities were to be evacuated at once” (106) No mention of Miami or Tampa (we assume they were destroyed) Randy wants “real news”- more than what he hears from FL (feels as if “Florida were fighting the war alone”)
More chaos on his drive back Convicts carrying weapons walking on the side of the road A wrecked car- luggage had been looted but body still there
Florence and Alice’s reaction to chaos… Florence is headed to work – “people will have all sorts of messages” (107) Alice goes to work- “maybe a good many people will be reading….once they find out that Civil Defense pamphlets are stocked in the library” (108) Considers getting supplies while in town Mob at Western Union of people trying to wire messages and money ◦“Nothing is going through north of Jacksonville….”
Edgar Quinsenberry Comes in to ask a message to be sent to Atlanta branch of Federal Reserve Bank: “Urgently need directive on how to handle current situation” (111) ◦We know things are serious now especially since Edgar tells us earlier he has never closed his bank or worried, not even in the Great Depression….
Another explosion (#5) Florence (while trying to send his message) gets a flash in her eyes and then sees a message from JX that they saw another explosion and mushroom cloud (112) ◦She can’t send the message because “Jacksonville doesn’t seem to be there any more”
“Fort Repose’s financial structure crumbled in a day” (112) / Edgar’s reaction… “at the bank nothing was right” ◦No phones, no staff, no customers He never worried himself with emergencies and cant believe all cities bombed at once (in disbelief) People start trying to take out savings- everything (113) and his reaction is “no reason for that. They ought to know the bank is sound!” (ironic- because paper money now means nothing…)
Mrs. Estes suggests they put a withdrawal limit, which Edgar thinks is “nonsense” so he decides to run things…”This was Edgar’s first, and perhaps his vital error” (113) Edgar only just realizes things might be bad when he figures the U.S. mail has stopped ◦Reacts by not accepting travelers or out of town checks or gov. bonds (word spreads and people start worrying…) ◦Realizes bank is almost drained of cash… ◦Decides to CLOSE the bank (116) “He had forgotten about the law of scarcity” (117) ◦Fort Repose had become an “island”
Chaos cont… Supplies off of shelves “This chaos did not result from a breakdown in Civil Defense. It was simply that Civil Defense, as a realistic buffer against thermonuclear war, did not exist.” (118) Families on the move Highways clogged No more weapons to be purchased Town totally out of gas
Edgar commits suicide “If the dollar was worthless, everything was worthless…..the end of civilization as we know it meant the end of money” (121) Edgar cannot see how life could go on if dollars were worthless…the bank was simply a “heap of stone” Thought his was wife was a “fool” and said this was the end He had been a banker his entire life, and he would die a banker (122) ◦He would not die in a mob, or humiliated ◦He could not accept such a world Shoots himself